Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

Maybe Israel Should be Giving the United States Foreign Aid

August 28, 2013

Opher Aviran, Counsul General of Israel to the Southeast United States, with Dr. Tim Mescon, President of Columbus State University, who introduced him  to the Rotarfy  Club of  Columbus.

Opher Aviran, Counsul General of Israel to the Southeast United States, with Dr. Tim Mescon, President of Columbus State University, who introduced him to the Rotary Club of Columbus.

Opher Aviran, Consul General of Israel to the Southeast Eastern United States,  spoke to Columbus Rotarians about the close ties between the United States and Israel.  He spoke of the mutual economic benefits of American-Israeli trade connections,  using, as example,  how Israel’s high-tech development community contributes  to American businesses that  have facilities in Israel. I have read Israel does have some really talented digital whizzes.

Perhaps the  relationship’s working the best for Israel.  Their national economy is in much better shape.  Their national debt as a percent  of their  Gross National Product is less than 75 percent.  Our national debt’s percentage of our GNP is 106 percent.

We give Israel about $3 billion a year in foreign aid, which is the most we gave  any country between 1976 and 2004.  Maybe it should be the other way around.   To  be fair, a lot of that $3 billion goes to American arms manufacturers.  You could say it’s just another way of subsidizing the military-industrial complex.

Maybe our government should just stop sending money gifts to any  Mideastern ountry.  What  are we getting for it?  The country that we buy the most oil from, Saudi Arabia, doesn’t need handouts from the U.S.

Then there is the  military factor to consider.  What have we gained by spending almost $900 billion on the war in Iraq?  Actually, according to  a paper by Linda J. Bilmes of Harvard, the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will total somewhere between $4 to $6 trillion when you factor in longterm  medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replacements, and social and economic costs.  Our government says the Iraq war is over. If that’s the case why are we still pouring money into it?  We’ve budgeted $5.2 billion for it this year. 

Cruise missle

Cruise missle

What are we going to gain by sending $1.4 million Cruise missiles into Syria?  I guess it will give a boost to Raytheon, who now  manufactures those missiles.  We’ll have to buy some more to replace the ones we use. Will we raise taxes to pay for them? Of course not. We’ll just have to borrow some more from China.  Well, we could just transfer the funds from Medicare and Social Security.  It would be interesting to see the political fallout from that since the millions who have paid money into those insurance programs would be affected.

And those Cruise missiles may just be the beginning of the cost of getting mixed up in that civil war.  We don’t know what the consequences of attacking Syrian targets may be.  You just never know until you do it.

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Bring Back the Draft?

March 12, 2012

Retired Col. Ralph Puckett speaking to Columbus Unitarian Universalists

Retired Colonel  Ralph Puckett, a highly decorated and honored retired U.S. Army Ranger,  told Columbus Unitarian Universalists Sunday that “our country has put unconscionable stress on the few in our society who serve in our military,” and raised the question of reinstating the draft as a way to ease that stress and resolve the unfairness of less than one percent of the population defending our country.

He said that some soldiers are on their fifth 12-month deployment.

He got an email from a brigadier general recently who is in Afghanistan  The general, referring to a photo he sent, said, “Next to me is the Brigade Command Sargeant Major. Speaking of sacrifice, this was the CSM’s fifth deployment of the war. During this tour his son fell in battle in Iraq serving as a squad leader with  the rangers. The father returned to the US with his son’s remains, attended services, and returned to duty in Afghanistan.”

Col. Puckett told of the sacrifices of the wives of soldiers, saying, “The wives of our soldiers deserve all the support and praise we can give them. They are serving, and sacrificing. They are combat multipliers!

“I know that I could not have made it without my wife, Jeannie. She is my hero, the wind beneath my wings. I would be nothing without her.”

This sacrifice is not being shared. He repeated the saying, “The Army and Marines are at war. The rest of America is in the shopping mall! Our soldiers are giving everything to include their lives while most of us give little or no thought to those who keep us free.”

As for our politicians, forty years ago there were nearly four times as many veterans in Congress as there are today.  “We expect our military to give their lives to defend America. Can we expect our politicians to put our country first before any political gain?”

He spoke of “sending volunteers on their third, fourth, and fifth deployments while the majority of our citizens exhibit little or no interest in those wars puts our country at risk.”

There would, no doubt, be one sure way to get the rest of the country interested in its wars, a military draft.  He told  of military expert Charles Moskos and Washington Post editor Paul Glastris proposing universal registration for men and women between 18 and 24. Individuals could choose service in the military, domestic security, or community organizations.

“If more of our Congress were veterans they would be less likely to support military intervention. Before the attack on Iraq, General Anthony Zinni wondered ‘why all the generals see [attacking Iraq] the same way, and those who never fired a shot in anger and are hell-bent on going to war see it a different way.”

He knows there are strong arguments against the draft. Unless there is mobilization, few serve while most don’t. Service members don’t want a return of the draft, think volunteers make much better soldiers. Then, there is the question of whether women would be drafted. “Would we evolve into an Army that is 50 percent women?  The impact of a politically correct environment could be disastrous.”

He would be for a return of the draft, but fears it would tear the country apart. Still he thinks the draft and national service “are certainly worthy of concern and an effort to resolve the unfairness of the current situation where our defense is borne by a select few.”

Col. Puckett closed with, “The changing international scene including the drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan and the growing war talk about Iran, Syria, and elsewhere will bring to the fore the question, ‘Who serves when all do not serve?’ “